Just days before the Hotel Farah Casablanca closed for a yearlong renovation at the end of February, its union negotiated to ensure that workers would not be left without an income and could return to their positions when the hotel reopened.

The deal, known as a protocol agreement, struck by the National Federation of Hotel, Restaurants and Tourism (FNHRT), an affiliate of the Moroccan Workers Union (Union Marocaine du Travail, UMT), and the Barceló Group, the hotel’s new owner, guarantees that all 102 permanent workers will receive 79.5 percent of their salaries under $500 and 75 percent of salaries above $500 for a year plus 70 percent of the 13th month salary bonus.

The new agreement builds on an earlier deal, negotiated and signed with the previous owner prior to the sale to Barceló, which boosted pay between 7 percent and 12 percent and ensured smooth labor relations.

“If they hadn’t come to an agreement, they couldn’t have sold the property. They had to stabilize the situation with the workers,” said Hadira Afer, worker delegate.

She added that reaching the new agreement “was a struggle.” And while it did not include everything the workers wanted, it was still good for the staff and the union.

Al-Aji Muhammad, the head of the union office at the hotel, said “these marathons of negotiations were very challenging, prompting the union to fiercely defend workers’ rights. The first offer submitted by the employer to pay 50 percent of salaries was very disappointing to the union.‘’

Morocco is experiencing a tourism boom, especially in the leadup to the 2030 World Cup, which it will jointly host with Portugal and Spain. Hotels and other facilities across the country are under construction and renovation.  

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the News from The Solidarity Center